New Orleans Dining: Angelo Brocato

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Angelo Brocato Ice Cream
214 N. Carrolton Ave.
New Orleans, LA

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Angelo Brocato looks like it would be completely at home in Boston’s North End, Manhattan’s Little Italy or on Arthur Avenue in the Belmont section of the Bronx. But it’s not — it’s on one of the busiest streets in New Orleans’ Mid-city district. The famous ice cream parlor opened in 1905 in The French Quarter, where Croissant D’Or Patisserie resides now. It moved to its current location in the 1970’s.

Shortly after the shop celebrated its 100th birthday, fate intervened. On August 29th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the city and the rest, of course, is history. Sadly, Angelo Brocato was one of the worst hit businesses when the levees broke — over four feet of water poured into the shop and destroyed absolutely everything. Many thought that the place would never be rebuilt, but optimism was high in the Brocato family and announcements were made that the legendary gelato/pastry store and cafe would again re-open.

The trademark neon sign on North Carrolton Avenue.

The Angelo Brocato store, as it was, in June of 2005, just two months prior to its destruction. During that particular visit we went to Brocato’s two times. During the evenings the store was packed, even late at night, and it’s not unusual to have to wait on line even past 10PM.

A selection of gelato treats from the pre-Katrina store.

Did New Orleans get its Gelato back? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

After over a year, on September 26, 2006, the store re-opened, to a great amount of fanfare. For the most part, the feel of the store is unchanged, except that they expanded the rear of the restaurant and the tables are more spaced apart, which makes the cafe a lot more comfortable to be in now.

The new counter area.

The new menu boards.

The new gleaming brass Italian Espresso/Cappuccino machine is the centerpeice of the new store. While many mourned the passing of their previous antique coffee machine, which served the store for many years, the new machine serves probably what is the best Italian coffee in the entire city.

Check out the head on that froth!

A view of the Gelato bins.

A Tortoni, a formed gelato dessert.

Cassatta, a type of Spumoni with different flavors in it — Zuppa Inglese, Strawberry and Pistachio, with candied fruits.

A selection of Italian cookies. Brocato’s did a big mail order business prior to the storm, but they are not up to speed just yet.

The plaque above the front door handle, indicating the four foot water line, which will serve as a constant reminder of that fateful day.

8 Responses to New Orleans Dining: Angelo Brocato

  1. This before and after photos are just great.

    Wasn’t the expansion done just before the flood? I seem to remember that they renovated just before the flood for their 100th anniversary, although my memories from that summer are hazy.

    I really need a gelato right now!

  2. As I recall, the pastry cases were located right in front of that rear elevated area and there was no seating there. I think the original photos on eGullet might depict that.

  3. Jessica Erny says:

    OMG OMG OMG MY FAVORITE place in the world. I can’t believe you didn’t get a cannoli, who goes to Brocato’s without getting one of those.

  4. smartpark says:

    If I ever make it to New Orleans, we’re meeting here. :-) I LOVE gelato… It took me a long time to learn that the strawberry “ice cream” I loved so much in Poland was really gelato – I couldn’t figure out why strawberry ice cream in the U.S. was never even close to the same… ;-)

  5. gigi says:

    Thank you so much for this post and your photos! I have very happy memories of New Orleans and Brocato’s. Their biscuit tortoni is the BEST.

    I’m so thrilled to see a venerable old fashioned family place like this rebuild and come back stronger after the disaster. Once I know that the Camellia Grill is back up and running it will make my day.

  6. […] cases of businesses on the rebound, such as Willie Mae’s, Dooky Chase, Mandina’s, Angelo Brocato’s and Camelia Grill, which are New Orleans eateries of such tremendous symbolic and cultural value to […]

  7. blogmistress Ann says:

    I used to date a guy who lived two blocks off Carrolton – we would walk to Brocato’s and get the stracciatella and mango gelato.

    It’s hard sometimes to read “rebuilt” accounts of New Orleans, but this was a good story. Thanks.

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